The therapist had just "fixed" the client's overhead squat---a lifelong athlete, he was squatting better than he had in years.
He happened to be facing a yellow wall.
Then the therapist had him face a blue wall---his squat was even better. Amazing! 20% better! His body must be getting used to the new squat!
Then the therapist had him face a green wall.
His squat plummeted. He lost all his gains.
He turned back to blue. No problems.
The client stared at the therapist.
"You played football, right?" said the therapist, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
Every major injury the client had had was on the bright green field.
Hearing this might be alarming. "You mean I can never look at a tree again?" But why wouldn't that good or bad feeling you have when you look at certain colors be, like any feeling, deep and physiological, with sometimes very specific roots? In the class that followed, everyone had color preferences; colors that made them feel better, colors that made them feel worse or perform a given task less effectively.
Neurodevelopment expert Lois Laynee's explanation for this is that the limbic system wants to feel safe, and it will do whatever it can to feel safe. The limbic system doesn't have a lot of common sense; it errs on the side of caution. It records things that make it feel unsafe so that you will wisely avoid them again. In doing so, it may include in its record things that aren't actually dangerous---say, green. Building resilience in ourselves means in some ways restoring those broken links, not just in our conscious mind, but in the unconscious physiology of the brain and body.
When I was in college I discovered I did not like looking at dark blue, gray or black. Blue especially made me sad. On one hand, I was happy with myself for identifying this; on the other, I felt like a freak, having to cross out an entire color from my line of vision. Later on, I was in a situation where I had to live in a house that was decorated entirely in blue. (When I described it to my friend, she said, "That's God, laughing at you.") Having some happy all blue memories was probably good---I don't have quite the same affliction any more.
As soon as you read about the football player and the squat, you may wonder how many other things can trigger unconscious stress or weakness without us ever knowing how or why. Why some people hate dogs, or getting health care, or one city over another.... We can try to understand, and it may be best, for our own sakes, if we try to heal (we often don't need to understand in order to heal, but that's another story). But at the point at which we come up against mysteries, let's be gentle with ourselves. Our limbic systems, these primal brains and bodies of ours, are doing things we only know the half of.
(And yes, while you're at it, maybe wear your favorite color. It could just put "dressing for success" in a whole new light.)